DALLAS--Glen Hartman, executive director of the Texas Public Finance Authority since its founding in 1984, plans to retire Aug. 31.
During his tenure, the agency evolved from only acquiring state office space to being Texas's largest state-level issuer and one with a reputation for the lowest bond-is-suing costs.
"I think he has provided leadership in an agency that moved from just financing state buildings to building $2 billion worth of prisons," said Tom Pollard, executive director of the Texas Bond Review Board, which oversees state issuance.
Mr. Hartman announced his plans this week, and the authority board is expected to begin the search for a replacement soon.
Under Mr. Hartman's leadership, the authority's staff grew from one person to 10. Its responsibilities ranged from selling debt for the Superconducting Super Collider project to issuing $1.1 billion in statebacked general obligation bonds to complete a planned prison expansion.
In the course of its history, the agency has sold 22 debt issues totaling $1.6 billion. But it has also fulfilled its original mission of acquiring office space in the Austin area, Mr. Hartman said Wednesday.
"We have helped the state reduce its reliance on rentals for office buildings," he said. "We got some pretty good bargains by taking advantage of the [soured] Austin real estate market."
The agency's best-known building acquisition was One Capitol Square, which now houses the authority's offices. In August 1990, the agency board voted 2 to 1 to declare a technical default in a dispute over whether bond proceeds could be used to buy the building rather than to build one as originally planned.
The controversy was later defused, but not before lawmakers threatened to abolish the agency. Instead, they expanded the board to dilute the power of its majority of that time.
The agency has also gained a reputation in the bond community for being tough on professional fees. The agency insists on caps and hourly fees from its lawyers, which in one case produced bond counsel fees of under 10 cents per $1,000 of bonds.
Today, the agency is poised to continue as the state's leading bond issuer. And in addition to project financing, the authority soon will oversee a massive equipment-leasing program.
"I think there will be some challenging years ahead," Mr. Hartman commented.
Mr. Hartman, 63, was a member of the San Antonio City Council from 1975 to 1979, and currently serves on the Lago Vista City Council. Asked what he will do in retirement, he joked, "I guess smell the roses."